Manuel "Mar" Araneta Roxas II (born May 13, 1957) is a former Senator of the Philippines. He is the son of former Senator Gerry Roxas, and the grandson of former President Manuel Roxas and industrialist J. Amado Araneta.
A graduate of the Wharton School, Roxas worked as an investment banker, mobilizing venture capital funds for small and medium enterprises. He served as the Representative of the 1st District of Capiz from 1993 to 2000. His stint as Congressman was cut short after he was appointed by President Joseph Estrada as Secretary of Trade and Industry. He resigned from the position at the height of the EDSA Revolution of 2001 and was later re-appointed by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in her new Cabinet. He resigned again to run for a Senate seat in the 2004 Philippine election. He was elected as Senator with 19 million votes and the highest ever garnered by a national candidate in any Philippine election and co-author of Expanded Value Added Tax Law (E-Vat).
Initially one of the leading contenders in the Philippine presidential election, 2010, he slid down to become a vice-presidential candidate in order to make way for fellow Senator Benigno Aquino III. He was defeated by Makati City Mayor Jejomar Binay of the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) by the narrowest margin in the history of the Fifth Republic. However, Roxas filed an electoral protest with the Supreme Court of the Philippines, the Court sitting as Presidential Electoral Tribunal.
On June 7, 2011, President Benigno Aquino III appointed Roxas as the new Secretary of Transportation and Communications to replace outgoing Secretary Jose de Jesus and took office on July 4, 2011. Afterwards on August 31, 2012, President Aquino nominated him as the next Secretary of Interior and Local Government, replacing then DILG Sec. Jesse Robredo who died in a plane crash.
- 1 Early life and career
- 2 House of Representatives
- 3 Secretary of Trade and Industry
- 4 Senator
- 5 Election as Liberal Party president
- 6 2010 vice-presidential candidacy
- 7 Secretary of Transportation and Communications
- 8 Secretary of Interior and Local Government
- 9 Political views
- 10 Personal life
- 11 Awards, honors and recognitions
- 12 References
- 13 External links
Early life and career
Roxas was born on May 13, 1957, in Manila, Philippines to Judy Araneta of Bago City, Negros Occidental and Gerardo Roxas (1924–1982) of Capiz. Roxas' father was a former Senator (1963–1972), and the only son of Manuel Roxas, the first President of the Third Philippine Republic, and Trinidad de Leon. The couple married in 1955. He has two siblings namely Maria Lourdes or Ria, married to Augusto Ojeda and mother of three and the late Congressman Gerardo "Dinggoy" Roxas, Jr. (1960–1993).
After graduation, he worked for seven years as an investment banker in New York, and became an assistant vice president of the New York-based Allen & Company. Following the 1985 announcement by President Ferdinand Marcos of a snap election, he took a leave of absence to join the presidential campaign of Corazon Aquino.
In September 1986, President Corazon Aquino went to the United States. He was one of those who organized a series of investment round-table discussions with the American business community. From 1986 onwards, he visited the Philippines more frequently.
He then proposed to his company to have set up shop in Asia specifically in the Philippines, and later, his superiors agreed. In 1991, he was stationed in the country under North Star Capitals, Inc. which took Jollibee public. In the United States, he participated in the first financing of Discovery Channel and Tri-Star Pictures.
House of Representatives
Roxas' younger brother, Dinggoy, who represented the 1st District of Capiz died of cancer in 1993. At the age of 35, he decided to run in the special election to replace his brother and won. He later became Majority Leader of the House of Representatives.
As congressman, he espoused consumer protection, underscoring the right of every Filipino to affordable medicines, as his personal advocacy. His landmark laws include, among others:
- Republic Act No. 8759 - establishing in all municipalities a Public Employment Service Office which serves as employment facilitation and information center, and links all job opportunities within the region;
- Republic Act No. 8748 - amending the Special Economic Zone Act by directly allocating to the municipality or city 2% (out of the 5%) gross tax to be collected from the establishments operating in the ecozone and providing for disturbance compensation for persons to be displaced or evicted by publicly owned ecozones;
- Republic Act No. 8756 - incentivizing the establishment of regional headquarters to encourage investment and operation of multinational companies in the country and to generate more jobs.
His tenure in the House was most noted for his principal authorship of Republic Act No. 7880 (Roxas Law), which ensures fair distribution of the education capital budget among all the provinces. This started his advocacy for fair and equitable access to education, free from regional bias and political patronage considerations.
Secretary of Trade and Industry
Roxas was appointed Secretary of Trade and Industry by President Joseph Estrada in January 2000, replacing Jose Pardo who as appointed Secretary of Finance. He resigned the position in November, as Estrada was under fire due to allegations of corruption. In January 2001, days after Estrada was overthrown, Roxas was re-appointed to the same office by newly installed President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. He was also temporarily designated by Arroyo to head the Department of Energy.
During his four-year stint as DTI Secretary, he pushed for the development of the "palengke" (market) as the basic unit of the economy and the root of progress, advocating not only consumer welfare and protection but also sound trade and investment policies, particularly SME development.
He intensified his commitment to quality education through the Personal Computers for Public Schools (PCPS) Program, which distributed over 30,000 computers to 2,000 public high schools all over the Philippines. PCPS computers provided 500,000 high school students with the necessary ICT tools and skills.
His work regarding trade policy was highlighted during the 2003 WTO Meeting in Cancún, Mexico, where he fought for increased market access for Philippine exports, particularly agricultural products and a rationalized Philippine trade regime so that domestic industries would not be harmed.
In the year 2000, Roxas was named as Chairman of the Information Technology and Electronic Commerce Council. A body formed with the participation of both the government and private sector to monitor the implementation of the E-Commerce Law (Republic Act 8792) and programs pushing for the growth of IT-enabled services. 
Roxas launched 'Make IT Philippines' and organized the first IT-enabled services (ITES) to the United States which led to the biggest global industry names to invest in the Philippines. He pioneered the establishment of high-technology industry centers and the promotion of the business process outsourcing (BPO) market in the Philippines, particularly call center operations. From a mere 2000 jobs at the onset, the BPO industry now provides hundreds of thousands of jobs, thereby putting the Philippines on the map as a major IT/BPO destination.
He worked for the reopening of the National Steel Corporation which provided thousands of jobs, income and livelihood to Iligan City, Northern Mindanao and adjacent regions. He later launched the Garment Export Industry Transformation Plan and Assistance Package to enhance the competitiveness of the industry and ensure its viability and vibrancy beyond 2004. He also initiated the Motor/Vehicle Development Program to promote exports, create a viable market base for our car manufacturers and secure jobs for our workers.
He pushed for MSME development through the SULONG (SMEs Unified Lending Opportunities for National Growth) Program, which granted almost P26.7 billion on low-interest loans to 281,229 SMEs on its first year.
He promoted the Tamang Timbang, Tamang Presyo (Right Scale, Right Price) program for consumers; the Presyong Tama, Gamot Pampamilya (Right Price, Family Medicine) to make affordable and quality medicines accessible to Filipinos, and Pinoy Pandesal, Palengke ng Bayan, among others. These programs promoted supply chain efficiencies leading to growth and productivity, and a wide range of opportunities and long-term gains.
As a proponent of the philosophy of 'palengkenomics', which considers the "palengke" (market) as a microcosm of the economy, Roxas conducts weekly monitoring of the prices of prime commodities and maintains strong linkages with suppliers, traders, and vendors in the different wet markets.
On December 10, 2003, Roxas resigned from his post to prepare for his senatorial bid under the banner of the Liberal Party in the 2004 elections. Roxas said that he needs to separate his work in DTI from his work as a candidate, and added that his resignation did not surprise the President. He was succeeded by Cesar A. V. Purisima, former chairman of the accounting firm Sycip, Gorres & Velayo (SGV).
Roxas was proclaimed by the Comelec as Senator-elect on May 24, 2004, and officially assumed the office at noon of June 30, 2004. He was elected under the Koalisyon ng Katapatan at Karanasan sa Kinabukasan (K-4) of President Arroyo.
Roxas held assignments on the Senate Committee on Trade and Commerce and Senate Oversight Committee on Optical Media Board serving alongside with Ramon Revilla, Jr..
On February 26, 2006, the Philippines was under a state emergency after the government claimed that it foiled an alleged coup d'état attempt against the administration of Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo earlier that same day. Two days later, Roxas called on the government to immediately revoke Proclamation No. 1017, saying it betrays its own vision of a strong republic and directly attack Philippine democracy.
Roxas voted in favor of the Revised Value-Added Tax Law when it was deliberated in the Senate. The law was co-authored by other Liberal Party members, Franklin Drilon and Francis Pangilinan. He also voted in favor of the abolition of the death penalty in the Philippines.
Roxas voted against the Human Security Act together with Senator Jamby Madrigal saying that "the fight against terror requires urgent operational reforms over measures that could impair civil liberties". He even warned that the said law poses a danger to the security and rights of every Filipino if there will be no set of implementing rules and regulations laid down.
Roxas' legislative agenda for the 14th Congress are as follows:
- Affordable Medicines
He has filed Senate Bill No. 101 (Law on Patents, Tradenames and Trademarks) to amend Republic Act No. 8293, otherwise known as the Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines, to lower the prices of medicines through increased competition among drug companies and by providing the government with better policy tools to significantly influence the supply and demand of medicines.
- EVAT Funds for Education and Healthcare
He has filed Senate Bill No. 102 (People's Fund Act) to ease the effect of the 12% E-VAT. The People's Fund would consist of thirty percent (30%) of all proceeds from the VAT collected under Title IV of the National Internal Revenue Code. This portion estimates the share of incremental revenues from Republic Act No. 9337, the Expanded Value-Added Tax law, which increased to 12% the VAT and removed the exemption.
- Tax Exemption for Minimum Wage Earners
He has filed Senate Bill No. 103 (Individual Tax Exemption for Minimum Wage Earners Bill) to exempt minimum wage earners in the private sector and government workers in Salary Grades 1 to 3, amending certain provisions of Republic Act No. 8424, otherwise known as the National Internal Revenue Code of 1997, as amended.
As per estimates by the National Wages and Productivity Board, there are 7 million workers earning the minimum wage and even below. For him, it is unfair and unjust that the government, under the law, is taking away a portion of their already subsistence-level income.
- Amendments to the Roxas Law
He has filed Senate Bill No. 104 to amend Republic Act No. 7880, also known as the Fair and Equitable Access to Education Act, to eliminate the problem of classroom shortages in the Philippines, as well as enhancing the process of construction, rehabilitation, replacement, completion, and repair of needed school buildings and classrooms.
- Regulating the Pre-Need Industry
He has filed Senate Bill No. 105 (Pre-Need Industry Act of 2007) to address the absence of a statute that regulates the pre-need industry by establishing the Pre-Need Industry Act of 2007 to govern the operations of firms which issue or sell pre-need plans or similar contracts and investments.
- Anti-Smuggling Bill
He has filed Senate Bill No. 106 (Anti-Smuggling Act of 2007) to amend certain provisions of Presidential Decree No. 1464, otherwise known as the Tariff and Customs Code of the Philippines, as amended. Under the proposed bill, an Audit and Transparency Group under the Bureau of Customs, headed by a Deputy Commissioner, would regularly inspect and report on the bureau's operational processes, collection and financial reporting, fiscal and personnel performance, system efficiency, internal control, information and communication flow, fraudulent and illegal practices and other related areas. On the basis of these inspections and reports, the Audit and Transparency Deputy Commissioner can initiate investigations of fraud and other graft and corrupt practices in the bureau, and shall recommend to the Office of the Ombudsman the filing of any cases against personnel and officers involved.
- Lemon Law
He has filed Senate Bill No. 107 (Lemon Law of 2007) to have a one (1) year period in which buyers of brand-new vehicles can avail of the provisions of this Lemon Law, which allows up to four repairs on the same defect before a replacement or refund of the vehicle can be claimed. For him, it would ensure that the investment on a vehicle is money well-spent.
- SME Magna Carta
He has filed Senate Bill No. 108 (Magna Carta for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises) to strengthen Republic Act No. 6977, the Magna Carta for Small Enterprises. The focus of the amendments of this bill focuses on three points: guidelines, institutional support and organizational support. Guidelines refer to the specific asset size definition, appropriating a definite and regular amount for the Small and Medium Enterprise Development (SMED) Council and increase in the mandatory allocation to lending activities. Institutional support comprises additional government agencies to coordinate SME efforts and formalization of the SME Development Plan. Lastly, organizational support to intensify the powers and increase capitalization of the Small Business and Guarantee Finance Corporation to complement the growing demands for financing. Other features of the bill include formalizing the celebration of the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise (MSME) Week and recognition of outstanding MSMEs.
- Free Information Act
He has filed Senate Bill No. 109 (Free Information Act) to implement the Constitutional guarantee to free access by the people to official information, except when the disclosure of such information would jeopardize other prerogatives of the government, namely, the protection of the privacy of individuals, trade secrets, national security, public order and safety, and foreign diplomatic relations.
The bill also proposes the adoption by all government bodies a mechanism wherein all written requests for information shall be responded to within two days, unless proper justification is given by the government body, subject only to the payment of reasonable fees for the viewing or reproduction of such information. To compel disclosure of information, in case a government body refuses access to such information on whatever grounds, the Office of the Ombudsman would be tapped to hear any citizens' complaints of not being properly assisted by the pertinent government body. Penalties will be levied to officials or employees who knowingly and unjustly refuse to provide access to information, or who consciously release false or misleading information.
- Decriminalizing Libel
He has filed Senate Bill No. 110 (Penalty of Imprisonment in Libel Cases Abolition Bill) to decriminalize libel and limit the venue of filing libel suits. He believes that the approval of the said measure would be a small way by which Congress may help in alleviating the plight of journalists.
Election as Liberal Party president
On November 26, 2007, LP National Executive Council officials resolved to appoint him as president of the Liberal Party (Philippines).
Roxas is to unite the two LP factions, and set the stage for his presidential campaign in the 2010 election. Lito Atienza, however, forthwith questioned Roxas' appointment, attacking the composition of Liberal Party’s National Executive Council (NECO) and alleged that the Supreme Court of the Philippines' June 5 resolution ordered the LP leadership's status quo maintenance. Atienza stated: "I have no invitation. They kicked me out of the meeting; How can you (Roxas) unite the party when you take the wrong step?"
2010 vice-presidential candidacy
After he garnered the highest votes in the Philippine election history when he ran as Senator, many people had already made him a potential presidential candidate by 2010. While he has been coy on his plans for 2010, the Mar Roxas for president in 2010 movement has been gathering steam with the Liberal Party revival targeting the youth (considering that the bulk of the voting population is aged below 30 years old). Other signs include the sprouting of Mar Roxas for president spots in cyberspace; and his colleagues endorsing him as the party's standard bearer—Senator Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III declaring him Liberal Party's candidate for 2010, Liberal Party's chair emeritus Jovito Salonga introducing him as "the next president of the Philippine republic" and former Liberal Party Chairman Franklin Drilon saying that Roxas is the party's standard bearer in the 2010 elections.
However, on September 1, 2009, at the historic Club Filipino, in the hopes of being the epitome of his belief of "Bayan muna bago ang sarili" (Country first above Self) he delivered a speech at a press conference saying that: for the 2010 elections, he is shelving his presidential aspiration and is giving way to Senator Benigno Aquino III. His critics, on the other hand, thought it was just his way to a "graceful exit".
On September 21, 2009, Roxas, alongside Aquino, officially announced his candidacy for the vice presidency, as the standard-bearer of the Liberal Party for Vice President, launching the Aquino-Roxas tandem. On November 28, 2009, Aquino and Roxas filed their certificate of candidacy for President and Vice President respectively.
He was defeated by Makati City Mayor Jejomar Binay of the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) by the narrowest margin in the history of the Fifth Republic. However, Roxas filed an electoral protest to the Supreme Court of the Philippines at the Presidential Electoral Tribunal. On July 12, 2010, the Supreme Court after reviewing Roxas' electoral protest, declared it sufficient in form and substance, and the Presidential Electoral Tribunal will be sending summons to Vice President Jejomar Binay to file a comment within 10 days upon receipt of summons, and Roxas also requested the Presidential Electoral Tribunal to order an independent forensic examination of the 26,000 CompactFlash cards and the source code of the PCOS machines used in the 2010 elections.
Secretary of Transportation and Communications
Roxas accepted the offer of Aquino to be appointed the Secretary of Transportation and Communications replacing the outgoing Secretary Ping De Jesus, who had resigned earlier. He took office on June 30, 2011. His appointment was given unanimous consent by the Commission on Appointments on October 12, 2011.
Secretary of Interior and Local Government
Afterwards, on August 31, 2012, President Aquino appointed him as the new Secretary of Interior and Local Government, replacing former DILG Sec. Jesse Robredo who died in a plane crash in the shore of Masbate Island.
Senator Mar Roxas has taken positions on many national issues since his election as senator during the 2004 Philippine elections
About the ZTE deal, Roxas introduced a resolution urging President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to cancel the Philippine government's National Broadband Network (NBN) project with China's Zhong Xing Telecommunications Equipment (ZTE) Corporation.
Roxas said that the $329.4-million deal "was driven by supply and not by demand" and will not benefit Filipinos. He believes that the cancellation of the deal would not affect the relationship of the Philippines with China.
In order to finally put a just closure to national divisiveness, Roxas filed Senate Resolution No. 135 calling on President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to issue a pardon to former President Joseph Ejercito Estrada (popularly known as "Erap") at the appropriate time.
"The grant of pardon to Erap on humanitarian grounds should not in any way be construed as condoning corruption, or as diminishing the legal weight of the ruling of the Sandiganbayan, but serves solely as an embodiment of the people's will for closure on one of the most divisive chapters of our national life," he added.
"In trade negotiations, no deal is always better than a bad deal." This is what Roxas said on JPEPA.
He issued a warning after President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo pressed on the Senate to ratify the Japan-Philippine Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA) amid concerns aired by Tokyo for the early approval.
Roxas was optimistic that the pact would be given serious consideration by the Senate if the government revised the deal to get a better trade-off.
He was previously in a relationship with former beauty queen Maricar Zaldarriaga, with whom he has a son, Paolo Z. Roxas. He is married to Korina Sanchez, one of the Philippines' most popular and critically acclaimed broadcast journalist from ABS-CBN.
In the April 25, 2009, episode of ABS-CBN noontime show Wowowee where Sanchez appeared as a guest co-host alongside Willie Revillame, Sanchez and Roxas announced their engagement. Sanchez took a leave of absence from her duties at ABS-CBN on May 2009.
On October 27, 2009, Mar Roxas and Korina Sanchez were married during a wedding ceremony held at Santo Domingo Church in Quezon City. Roxas' former running mate in the 2010 election, President Noynoy Aquino was one of the couple's primary wedding sponsors. Manila Philharmonic Orchestra and the Philippine Madrigal Singers provided the music during the wedding. Other notable performers included Basil Valdez, Robert Sena, and Jamie Rivera.
Awards, honors and recognitions
- In 1996, Roxas was recognized by the World Economic Forum as "one of the Global Leaders of Tomorrow who are expected to shape the future."
- In 1999, Roxas was named by the Asiaweek Magazine as "Political Leader of the New Millennium."
- The Singapore Government has awarded him as the 16th Lee Kuan Yew Fellow.
- On February 16, 2007, the E-Services Philippines awarded Roxas with the E-Champion Award recognizing his pioneering efforts and leadership in making the Philippines a popular outsourcing destination of choice.
- On September 18, 2007, Roxas was conferred with the Palanca Awards Gawad Dangal ng Lahi by CP Group Chairman Carlos Palanca III, Palanca Foundation Director General Sylvia Palanca-Quirino and Deputy Director General Christine Quirino-Pacheco for serving as an exemplary leader and role model to the Filipino.
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- "Free Information Act". Retrieved 2008-01-13.
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- Abs-Cbn Interactive, Roxas is new LP president, sets sights on 2010 poll
- ABS-CBN Interactive, Atienza questions Roxas' assumption as new LP prexy
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|House of Representatives of the Philippines|
Gerardo A. Roxas, Jr.
|Member of the House of Representatives
from Capiz's 1st district
Rodriguez D. Dadivas
|Secretary of Trade and Industry
Jose de Jesus
|Secretary of Transportation and Communications
Joseph Emilio Abaya
|Secretary of the Interior and Local Government